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Visit from Yemen

Visit from Yemen


On Thursday, 13 December 2012, journalists from the Republic of Yemen visited Democracy International and its partner organization Mehr Demokratie in their office in Cologne to get to know civil society organisations working on democracy issues.

During the two-hour meeting the guests from the southern edge of the Arabian Peninsula were eager to find out about the concept of a ‘good democracy’ and the workings of the German electoral system. Also high-ranked were questions on possibilities of German–Yemenite civil society cooperation, while it was important for the Yemenites  that this cooperation should happen without state interference. 

Daniel Schily and Alexander Trennheuser responded to the questions on behalf of Democracy International and Mehr Demokratie respectively. The German democracy activists explained about procedures of direct democracy in Germany as well as the European Union. They illustrated how legally-binding instruments of direct democracy complement and enrich a well-functioning democracy. 

Emphasizing on the need to internationally exchange experience and to engage in discussions, Daniel Schily pointed out that Western democracies per se are not an ideal case to pursue and to realize in practice. Instead, a democracy and equal societies could also develop from within their own cultural and historic contexts. 

The lively debate ended with exchange of experience about reunifying a country. Like Germany, Yemen was officially unified in 1990. However unlike Germany, it is not the East and West but the North and South that were constituted as one republic. 

The German foreign office had organised the mission of the Yemenite delegation throughout Germany. 

Text by Cora Pfafferott


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